Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hong Kong part 2

The nice part of Hong Kong is if you want the insanity of a big city, its there for the taking. On the other hand, if you need seclusion you'll find it. We wanted both and it was time for us to explore beyond Repulse Bay.

We took a cab over the hill to Chai Wan, a more local part on the edge of the city. We climbed Cape Collinson Cemetery. The cemeteries we encounter had stadium-like aesthetics.
Chai Wan below.
At the top of the cemetery sits the walking path towards Big Wave Bay. One might think that a path through nature would entail mixing with the elements. Not exactly, the path was paved with gold. True a python could fall from a tree and squeeze out your last breath or you could take a bad step and slide into the Pacific; that would be the worst that could happen.  
Big Wave Bay just below. MJ and I peeked over the edge and spotted a school or a training facility. Regardless, the compound was nested in a prime and secluded location next to the sea. Later we found out it was a prison. Note to self: Hong Kong is the place to commit a crime.  
Surfers catching mush.
"May be" is the key phrase here. This was the first drug driving sign we saw, however there were no shortages of drunk driving signs lining the roads. 
Party time!
How to gut a fish.
Kowloon's hot spot. 
Not really enforced, there were pockets of reeking piss and clusters of older men playing a "friendly" hand of cards.
The streets of Kowloon have the highest population density and why not with all the shopping bargains available. Sadly we didn't join in on the consuming of knockoff goods. 
Turtle soup for the soul.
The lovely Hong Kong Park.
Obligatory visit to Victoria Peak.
Dim Sum is not the same unless you have stranger dining at your table.
We had to leave the hustle and bustle of the big island for something less hectic and Cheung Chau sounded like the right fit. The smaller island is car free and shaped like a dumbbell. 
 Cheung Chau's claim to fame is the weeklong annual Bun Festival. On the ferry we watched a video of the event, which included climbing mountains of packaged buns. We were sold on this idea. The history of the festival is traced back to chasing away evil spirits and pirates. To learn more click here.
Saltine crackers on a stick...why are all the good ideas taken!
The Chinese love their cameras. They'll go to the beach, avoid touching the water, but take rolls of film (ok, fill up a memory card) in front of it. 
Baby El toured the playgrounds on Cheung Chau. 
We opted for the side with the Mini Great Wall. The walk entailed scenic views of the water... beaters (hey, DIY)...
...and rocks named after animals they resemble. Perhaps we didn't stand in the correct position to see the likeness, even for my imagination it was a bit of a stretch. What do you see? Chinese doped up on opium?
Secret location where underage Olympic gymnasts train. 
A sign that has fallen off the boat. At least now we know which country Trader Joe's have their signs made. Sorry Charlie, no Two Buck Chuck.
While we were on a hunt for dim sum, Jill spotted her favorite fruit-mangostein. We bought a couple for later in the day. Delicious. Word of caution, eat only the white wedges. 
New Year's Eve in Hong Kong is a lot different than Chinese New Year; at least that is what we gathered after some research. We attended the less of the two...The Eve version. It wasn't crazy and the fireworks were "meh," not exciting as the ones next to our apartment back in Egypt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hong Kong part 1

Call it China Lite but whatever you do don't call someone from Hong Kong Chinese, at least that is what I've been told. Our friends MJ, Jill, and baby El have moved out of the dust and debris excitement of Egypt into a more subdued (and affluent) side of Hong Kong Island; Repulse Bay.

The quiet community of Repulse Bay was once a hideout for pirates. During the Second World War it was a stronghold for the allied forces.
Hong Kong's Boyz in the Hood. 
MJ calls it Deep Throat Bay (lit. Deep Water Bay). 
Kwun Yam Shrine is the pride and the cause of street lined tour buses of Repulse Bay.   
MJ and Jill called the attraction Tin Hau, which is a Taoists goddess of the sea who protects fishermen and sailors, at least that is what I gathered from reading the plaques. 
It was a definite destination as hordes of tourist prayed, touched, gave money to, lit incense, and tied bows around the icons, deities, and figures. 
This woman must have spent 5-minutes trying to toss a coin into the mouth of the fish. I eventually got mine in only to find out it's for fertility. 
Not pictured is the longevity bridge and by crossing it will add extra days to your life. 
MJ hiding behind Buddha (there were many different shapes and styles to choose from). 
 Stanley Kubrick comes to mind. 
At the end of my Kwun Yam Shrine adventure, I would describe it as a marriage between a Buddhist temple and a Chinese Zodiac amusement park.  
Although MJ and Jill don't own a car, their neighbors do. 
Our hosts.
I wonder if Campbell's makes this flavor?
The likes of Shepard Fairey has infected the big island.
My favorite new painting.
Are you a little short of Communist Chinese porcelain figures, fret no more. 
Have a craving for snake and/or turtle? 
We were fans of sausage, but Cantonese style? As far as culinary goes, the Chinese leave no stone unturned.
Stay tuned for part 2.